SATURDAY NEWS DIGEST 1/28: Pena believes Nunes has more work to do before moving Featherweight (w/Cervantes Analysis)

By Jonathan Cervantes, MMATorch contributor

Juliana Pena (photo credit Joshua Dahl © USA Today Sports)

Juliana Pena believes Women’s Bantamweight Champion Amanda Nunes has more work to do before she considers a move to Featherweight.

During the open workouts ahead of this weekend’s bout, Pena explained why she thinks Nunes needs to remain at Bantamweight and what she’d do if she were the champion. “I think that there’s a lot of competition still left at 135 pounds that she should maybe consider before trying to run to another division,” Peña said. “God willing, I get past this fight and I’m unbeaten in the UFC. If I was the champion, I’d rather want to clean out my own division rather than going to another division.”

Pena is supremely confident in her abilities and believes her past victories over some of the top names in the division give her an advantage. “This is a great fight for me,” Peña said. “This is my fight to win. Being that Cat Zingano beat the brakes off of Amanda Nunes and I dominated Cat Zingano, I think it’s fair to say that I can hang with anybody that walks at 135 pounds inside the Octagon.”

She also said she’d be more than happy to assume the role of inspiration for others now that it appears Ronda Rousey’s future is in question. “Now that Ronda is out, I would love to be that person, I would love to be that role model for these little girls that are looking up to me or looking for someone to look up to,” she said. “I would love to fill that role and I would love to be the face of women’s MMA — absolutely”.

Juliana Pena faces Valentina Shevchenko tonight and has called for a title shot should she win.

Cervantes Analysis: Pena has come a long way since her time on TUF and since her career was called into question after she suffered that horrible knee injury a few years ago. Her coming back from that injury and fighting her way to this point is a testament to her grit and determination and, if she beats Shevchenko tonight, which I expect she will, I’d say she’s done more than enough to earn a shot at the belt.


•Dana White told FS1 that rising heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou has the potential to be heavyweight champion.

•According to Bloody Elbow, Anderson Silva has sold a script to Netflix for an upcoming series.

•Regarding her win last night on Bellator 171, Jessica Middleton said she was feeling it in the first round before going on to victory over Alice Yauger. “Blood and pain, isn’t that what you guys wanted? She was tough, after the first round I was like ‘holy crap,'” Jessica Middleton said. “I’m not truly happy with my performance, I want to get better and I will come back stronger and more efficient. Emily Ducote is great, I’d love to fight her, but I’m ready for any flyweight, I’m ready to go.”

•Jacare Souza told MMA Fighting he’d be upset if Anderson Silva received a title shot before he does.

NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: FRIDAY NEWS DIGEST 1/27: Nurmagomedov says he’ll beat Ferguson and then erase McGregor’s history (w/Cervantes Analysis)

(Jonathan Cervantes has been an avid fan of MMA since 2009 when he saw GSP vs. B.J. Penn 2. He has practiced tae kwon do, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling in the past and is currently a student majoring in entrepreneurship at the University of San Francisco. He writes the MMATorch News Digest on Fridays and Saturdays. Michael Hiscoe writes MMATorch News Digests Sunday through Thursday each week.)

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